Yahoo has apologized for its use of scantily clad lap dancers to entertain mainly male software developers and engineers in Taiwan last weekend. The Internet search company Monday acknowledged its politically incorrect step.
"I wanted to acknowledge the public reaction generated by the images of female dancers at our Taiwan Open Hack Day this past weekend," said Chris Yeh of Yahoo's Development Network on the company's blog.
"Our hack events are designed to give developers an opportunity to learn about our ... (programming) and technologies. As many folks have rightly pointed out, the 'Hack Girls' aspect of our Taiwan Hack Day is not reflective of that spirit or purpose. And it’s certainly not the message we want to send about our values here at Yahoo! Hack Days are about making everyone feel welcome, including women coders and technologists."
Yeh said that what happened is "regrettable and we apologize to anyone that we have offended. Rest assured, it won’t happen again."
The dancers, wearing bras and miniskirts, performed before the male audience during what has been described as a brainstorming meeting. "Honest, honey, she was just showing me her social networking APIs" was the headline on one blog today.
Photos and videos showing the women pretty much throwing themselves on the men were initially posted on photo-sharing site Flickr, but have since been marked for only "private" viewing.
All Things Digital columnist Kara Swisher noted, "Perhaps worst of all, this kind of thing is not new for Yahoo’s hack events in Taiwan, at least, where there seems to be some history of this sort of Pussycat-Dolls-meets-geeks tone.
"It is not clear why all the thumpa-thumpa music and dancing gals did not engender complaints last year," but photos from this year's event may have made a difference.
Web development expert Simon Willison shared some of the images on his blog, writing how upset he was with the Hack Day event, which he has attended at various places around the world since 2005.
"I’ve also been to every one of Yahoo!’s Open Hack Day events in London," he wrote. "They’re fantastic, and the team that organises them should be applauded.
"As such, I care a great deal about the image of hack day — and the videos that emerged from last weekend’s Taiwan Hack Day are hugely disappointing."